Dolores (Dee) Cook is a long time contributor to higher education, including helping to found Montcalm Community College and serving on the MSU Board of Trustees from 1991 to 2006. She also served on the board of the MSU Development Fund, was an original member of the Wharton Center Advisory Council, the national chairperson of special gifts for MSU’s $210 million capital campaign, MSU 2000: Access to Opportunity, and in The Campaign for MSU, she served as co-chair. Byron J. Cook is co-founder of Cook Investments and Southwestern Oil Company. Together, the Cooks are founding members of the College of Music’s National Leadership Council. The impact of the their generosity can be seen-and heard-in the outstanding venue, Cook Recital Hall, which showcases the talent of students and faculty in the College of Music.
Bob Skandalaris personifies an engine of opportunity, one of the priorities of the Empower Extraordinary campaign. Bob founded and served as CEO of several private and public companies, including Noble International, Ltd., which at the time of his exit in 2008, had become the world’s largest supplier of laser-weld blanks, employing 3,500 people in 15 countries. He also established Quantum Ventures of Michigan, a family office, which specializes in the acquisition and development of middle-market firms. And, he has authored three books on entrepreneurship. While on campus, he met his wife Julie. Julie is a registered nurse and she has served as the head of the family’s foundation which has granted nearly 2,000 college scholarships to future leaders. They are passionate Spartan fans. Bob played a decisive role in the expansion of the Duffy Daugherty Building, now named the Skandalaris Football Center. Their 2007 gift was the largest ever to Spartan Athletics. In 2012, Bob was granted an honorary doctor of business degree from MSU. He previously served on the MSU Foundation Board.
Co-founders of the The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, Eli and Edythe Broad set out to become venture philanthropists; investing in education, science and the arts to advance entrepreneurship for the public good. From the Broad College of Business to The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, the positive impact of the Broads’ venture philanthropy is everywhere at MSU. Their 1991 gift to the college of business was the largest ever received by a public business school at that time and underscores the success of the college today. In 2003, they helped develop a new generation of urban school teachers with a gift to establish the Broad Partnership between MSU and Detroit Public Schools. Most recently, the Broads’ commitment to build a world class art museum at MSU ignited the arts community, leading to the Zaha Hadid-designed facility that is garnering international attention while adding mightily to the arts at MSU and throughout the region. Eli and Edythe both attended Detroit Public Schools and married in 1954, the year Eli graduated cum laude from MSU. He went on to build two Fortune 500 companies, KB Home and SunAmerica, from the ground up. Edythe was named an Honorary Alumna of MSU in 2007.
Peter Secchia has been a steadfast champion for Michigan State University for five decades. As one of the people most responsible for helping MSU bring its College of Human Medicine to Grand Rapids, Ambassador Secchia provided the lead gift for the college’s new headquarters there, now known as The Secchia Center. His leadership and enthusiasm on behalf of his alma mater has routinely moved others to action. He served on the 2002-2007 President’s Campaign Cabinet for The Campaign for MSU. Together with his wife Joan, he has hosted dozens of university events and has chaired several campus building projects. He provided the largest outright cash gift received by an MSU women’s intercollegiate sports program to build Secchia Softball Stadium on Old College Field. In 1997, he received an honorary doctorate of humanities from MSU. In addition to the Secchias’ service on the President’s Campaign Cabinet, Peter serves as an advisor to MSU Intercollegiate Athletics and Joan serves on the campaign board of the College of Education. Joan has long been an active community advocate in Grand Rapids, serving on many boards of charitable organizations.
For the Browns, the seeds for their devotion to MSU blossomed with a proposal on April 19, 1973. That day, Craig got down on his knee on the banks of the Red Cedar and asked for Vicki’s hand in marriage. Today, the Craig and Vicki Brown Plazas—part of the expansion of Spartan Stadium—overlook that memorable place and represent the Browns’ most recent commitment to MSU. During Craig’s 23-year career in advertising, he helped shape the future of the industry through the leadership role he played in the first (1985), the largest (1999), and one of the final (2002) global advertising agency mega mergers. Self-avowed “sports nuts,” Craig and Vicki own several sports properties, including Craig’s full time role as the president and owner of The Greenville Drive, the class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. Over the years, Craig and Vicki have been steadfast in their support for Spartan Athletics and the Broad College of Business. Craig serves on the Athletic Director’s Advisory Council, is the former chairperson of the MSU Foundation and is the current chair of Spartan Innovations, the entity charged with the commercialization of MSU’s intellectual properties. Craig and Vicki also devote significant time and resources toward raising awareness and research monies for the Hydrocephalus Association.
Peter Faricy knows a few things about developing and strengthening relationships. As the vice president of the Amazon Marketplace, he is responsible for more than two million third-party sellers worldwide, helping them to grow their businesses and profits on Amazon. Under his leadership, the Amazon Marketplace has grown from approximately 30 percent of the total units sold on Amazon to approximately 40 percent. With his wife Sharon, he has worked hard to help MSU connect with more Spartans, particularly those living in the Seattle, Washington area. Sharon is a local activist and her connections have been invaluable to MSU. Previous to Amazon, Peter was a vice president for multimedia marketing at Borders Group and served in several strategic leadership roles with Ford Motor Company and with McKinsey & Co.
Vincent (Vince) Foster earned his degree in accounting and began a 19-year career with Arthur Andersen LLP, where he was a partner for more than a decade. He is currently chairman of the Board, CEO and President of Main Street Capital (NYSE: MAIN). He also currently serves as a founding director of Quanta Services, Inc. (NYSE: PWR), which provides specialty contracting services to the power, natural gas and telecommunications industries and is a director of Team, Inc. (NYSE: TISI), which provides specialty contracting services to the petrochemical, refining, electrical power and other heavy industries. With MSU’s help, Vince designed a unique way to make a significant asset-based gift to the Department of Accounting in the Broad College of Business. He contributed a portion of his ownership position in the pre-IPO entity that became Main Street Capital, creating a new alternative for other private equity investors and fund managers to support MSU. Vince and Louise Foster make their home in Houston, Texas and are regional volunteers for MSU.
Karen A. Kolschowsky and Gerald A. Kolschowsky are philanthropists and the co-founders of the Gerald A. & Karen A. Kolschowsky Foundation. They are the co-founding benefactors for the Partnership for Sustainable Community Development and the Tanzania Partnership Program at Michigan State University, and the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods at Iowa State University, Jerry’s alma mater. In addition, they have created the Center for Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice at the Lutheran School of Theology, provide support for cancer research at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and are supporters and advocates for issues of hunger and poverty through their involvement with Bread for the World. The Kolschowskys are both retired; Karen is a former teacher and involved in their church and Jerry the former Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of OSI Industries, LLC, a global food company.
Blake and Mary Krueger’s gift to MSU’s Graduate School endowed MSU’s first donor-funded University Distinguished Graduate Fellowship. The newly created fellowship is allowing MSU’s Graduate School to recruit and support an outstanding graduate student to enter programs in any of MSU’s academic disciplines. Blake currently serves as Chairman of the Board, CEO and President of Wolverine Worldwide, a New York Stock Exchange listed international marketer of footwear, apparel and accessories. Blake and Mary met as undergraduate students at MSU. Mary worked as an engineer for the State of Michigan’s Air Quality Division of the Department of Environmental Quality before retiring to stay home with their four children. Blake and Mary are active in the Grand Rapids community, and are viewed as Spartan leaders in West Michigan for their devotion to their alma mater.
Ben and Barbara Maibach met during a calculus class while undergraduates at MSU. Ben worked as a laborer at Barton Malow, a general contracting firm in Southeast Michigan, while attending school. Today he serves as the CEO, chairman of the board and immediate past president of Barton Malow. Under his leadership, it grew to become one of the largest general contractors in the U.S. Among the company’s most significant buildings are the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, and the Rose Bowl. Barbara has dedicated herself to family and math literacy. In her spare time, she tutors children. With other alumnae, she has also co-hosted President Simon for a MSU women’s event. Together with his wife Barbara, Ben has contributed generously to the College of Engineering whose internship programs have provided many of Barton Malow’s new hires. They are loyal Spartan fans, supporting student-athletes and Spartan Athletics.
Pat McPharlin has worked at the MSU Federal Credit Union for the past 41 years, serving as its president & CEO for the last 14 years. Under Pat’s leadership, the MSUFCU has grown its assets from $546 million to over $2.7 billion, and from close to 97,000 members to over 191,000 members nationwide. It stands as the world’s largest university-based credit union, recognized in 2014 as the National Credit Union of the Year and by the Detroit Free Press as the Number One Top Work Place for large employers in Michigan. The MSU Federal Credit Union has also become one of the most generous donors to MSU. In 2013 they were recognized with the William J. Beal Society which honors donors who have contributed $10 million to MSU. In 2005, Pat was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from the MSU Alumni Association (MSUAA). He has served as a board member and treasurer for the MSUAA. He currently serves on the campaign committee for MSU Student Services and for the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts.
Before the construction of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, complex decisions between MSU, architects and builders required the intervention of an external stakeholder with an insider’s touch. Edward J. Minskoff was the hero. Edward is founder and president of Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc., a New York-based real estate acquisition and development company which owns and manages over six million square feet of office space plus residential and retail properties in Manhattan and other major cities. He took over the negotiations and enabled the completion of the museum. Edward and Julie also are avid collectors of contemporary art, naming a gallery at the Broad MSU and contributing a major Jonathan Prince sculpture and a Jasper Johns print. Edward earned an honorary doctorate from MSU in 2009.
Linda Orlans is a practicing attorney and the quintessential entrepreneur. A lifelong resident of Michigan, she has launched and grown a successful enterprise of companies and for over 16 years, The Orlans Group has been offering solid advice and developing creative solutions for real property clients transacting business in 36 states and employing over 500 professionals.
Ms. Orlans is Founder and Principal of The Orlans Group, which is comprised of Orlans Associates, PC, Orlans Moran PLLC, Atlantic Law Group, eTitle, eVantage, eAMC, Red eDocs and Towne Auction. All of the Orlans group firms are Certified Women’s Business Enterprises. Since 1996 she has launched and grown eight business ventures that directly support Michigan and our nation’s economies.
Under her leadership, Ms. Orlans’ companies have produced continuous growth and represent investors, lenders, banks and servicers in the mortgage banking and real property industries. Among those lenders, she has been appointed Designated Counsel for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—a best in class distinction.
Ms. Orlans’ philanthropy and commitment to the communities in which she lives and conducts business is well known. Her companies’ corporate values encourage financial and social responsibility, innovation, compassion and accountability—all of which she actively brings to the community at large. She is especially passionate about helping underserved children through education, honoring America’s service members and women’s issues. In 2014 Ms. Orlans established the Emerging Leaders for Women in Metro Detroit. The program is designed to provide current and aspiring women business leaders with the tools and skills necessary for success. The goal of this series is to help women achieve new levels of leadership, while remaining authentic to themselves. The Orlans Group is proud to serve as a founding partner of the Homes 4 Wounded Heroes Program whose mission is to award mortgage-free homes to wounded heroes injured during combat in service to our country. The homes are for families who have severe and/or unique circumstances due to their injuries received while serving our country. In addition to the home, the families will receive three years of family and financial mentoring.
Ms. Orlans serves in leadership roles for a number of organizations including Beaumont Hospital’s First Words Society where she was also a co-founder, Board of Directors at the Detroit Institute of Arts and Michigan Opera Theater as well as Inforum Center for Leadership and The Heart and Warmth Fund. She also serves on Advisory Boards at Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan and Beyond Basics. Linda is an active alumni member of Michigan State University where she serves on the Board of Trustees for the College of Law and in 2013 Ms. Orlans was elected by the Board to serve as the Chair. Additionally, she is part of the Distinguished Clown Corps for the last 10 years at the Detroit Thanksgiving Day parade and in 2005 Ms. Orlans was a founding member of the Detroit Home Ownership Preservation Enterprise.
A graduate of Wayne State University and Michigan State University College of Law, Ms. Orlans was awarded the MSU Hon. George Bashara, Jr., Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011. In 2013 Linda Orlans received the Winning Futures Sam Cupp Impact Award as Business Leader of the Year, Birmingham Community House Award for Philanthropy and Leadership, and the Northwood University’s 2013 Distinguished Women’s Award. Ms. Orlans was named one of metro Detroit’s top women leaders in dBusiness Magazine’s 2012 Powered by Woman issue. In 2010, eTitle Agency was recognized as one of the 101 Detroit’s Best & Brightest Companies to Work For. And, in 2009 Linda Orlans was honored with the Ernst & Young Central Great Lakes Entrepreneur of the Year Award and named a Top Lawyer by dBusiness Magazine. For the past 10 years, Ms. Orlans, has been rated by her peers, to be awarded the distinguished rank of AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell and in 2009 she received her bar admission to the Supreme Court of The United States.
Under the leadership of Linda Orlans The Orlans Group has stood the test of time, which is truly a great accomplishment and is something that is quite rare in today’s disposable society. The firm prides itself on client communication, work product, and our ability to adapt to the clients ever-changing needs we do whatever is necessary to meet the needs and expectations of our clients so that they can meet their goals.
When Ingrid Saunders Jones received her honorary doctor of humanities degree from MSU in the spring of 1995, President Bill Clinton sat in rapt attention to the galvanizing address she gave to the graduating class. Inspiring others—including global leaders—to seek ways to improve their communities and their world was nothing new to Ingrid. During her three-decade Coca-Cola executive career, she led the transformation of the company’s philanthropic outreach, growing a U.S.-focused program into a global campaign that has contributed more than $500 million to support sustainable community initiatives. She also leads by personal example. Her community and leadership accomplishments are many including chairing The Carter Center Board, the National Council of Negro Women, The Woodruff Arts Center Annual Campaign and the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta. She established an endowed scholarship in 2007 for MSU students, which also supports the Multicultural Business Programs in the Eli Broad College of Business.
Steve Smith attended MSU from 1987-91, where he became a First Team All-American basketball player and went on to a 14-year career in the NBA. In 1997, Steve donated what was, at the time, the largest gift a professional athlete had ever made to his or her alma mater, to construct the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center at MSU in honor of his late mother. A portion of his gift also created a scholarship for students at his former high school: Detroit Pershing as well as other Detroit high schools. His scholarship fund, which is now endowed, provides significant support for high-achieving Detroit students to attend Michigan State. In The Campaign for MSU, he served as co-chair. Millie Smith, his wife, hails from Lake Charles, Louisiana. In keeping with the couple’s commitment to giving back, they first met at a charity event.
Scholarship and understanding of the history, culture, society and politics of Israel is flourishing at MSU, thanks in large part to the presence of Dr. Yael S. Aronoff, the Michael and Elaine Serling and Friends Chair of Israel Studies. Michigan State is one of a small core of universities in the U.S. to offer an endowed chair position in Israel Studies, thanks to the generosity of lead donors Michael and Elaine Serling. Of all the accolades and accomplishments in his successful career, Michael counts receiving the 2004 MSU Distinguished Alumni Award as a highlight. His Birmingham legal practice specializes in environmental and product liability law with expertise in asbestos contamination disease that is sought after around the world. In The Campaign for MSU, Michael served on the President’s Advisory Cabinet. His wife, Elaine, is an accomplished singer/songwriter and nurse.